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On The State of Our Republic

Originally posted: October 1, 2018

Note: There are a few Wikipedia sourced items here – yes I know. However, in those instances, I used them as a shortcut after looking at the referenced material that the Wiki articles were sourced from.

I shy from the term Democracy, because in its purest sense, our government has never been that and indeed Direct Democracy is something that’s rarely seen in modern society.1 Our Republic instead is a Representative Democracy, and whereas this is the source of its greatest strengths, at the same time its the point of its greatest failures.

We continue to re-elect the same people to Congress, despite abysmally low approval ratings.2 Because of this tendency we continue to propagate a system that is entirely invested in maintaining the existing power structure which is by and large patriarchal and concerned with maintaining male white privilege 3. The current administration whose platform was based on “draining the swamp” and “Make America Great Again” seems to have forgotten a few words in their slogans – “Draining the Swamp so White Men of Privilege aren’t threatened” and “Make America Great Again for Rich White Guys” probably isn’t a message the proletariat would have liked very much.

I want to spend some time on how we got to the process we’re now in as it relates to the Kavanaugh hearings. I don’t believe that the process works – we need a more fair and immutable system for confirmations, one that requires a supermajority to amend and that is consistent for a minimum number of future nominations. I’m free-range thinking here, I admittedly don’t have a PoliSci degree and my experience in politics is limited to the now laughable seeming world of college student government processes. Some of this goes back to the Democrats choosing to exercise the so-called Nuclear Option. Basically, at the beginning of each new senate term the theory exists that by interpretation of the Constitution, the Senate may on a limited basis set aside its rules and procedures on a simple majority vote. This was originally used to scuttle the supermajority rule for Executive and non-SCOTUS federal judicial appointments. in 2017 Republicans upped the ante and made it apply to SCOTUS appointments 4. One of the ways to stop this ridiculousness on both side of the aisle would be a constitutional amendment outlining what the confirmation rules ought to be instead of leaving this tug of war. Its my belief, especially when it comes to the bench that there ought to be bipartisan support for these nominations, as an additional check and balance on the reigning political party. I don’t see this happening though – there was a time when a two party system worked in this country – but now all it does is serve as a mechanism for further polarization – something I lay equally at the hands of both parties.

The eight years Obama was POTUS marked a period in US history that saw really the first great upheaval of white male privilege since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was new version of camelot, where not only did the chains of privilege begin to break for people of different races and ethnicities, but for other groups including the LGBQT-Whatever community. The election of 45 was a backlash and as this administration issues Executive Orders and other guidance, the gains made during Obama’s presidency for minority and other groups seem to be whittled away almost every day 5.

Even more than this though, there’s this sense that 45 can do whatever he likes, without much regard for the rule of law. The ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Mueller seems to by hanging by a thread, merely on life support because enough Republicans still haven’t completely lost their civil duty and humanity to allow the investigation to be stopped. There was a time when I thought that a Coup in this country was merely something that might happen in a Tom Clancy novel, but now – fantasy seems like it may become a possibility. A pundit on MSNBC alluded to as much during last week’s controversy over Rod Rosenstein’s alleged leaked remarks.

I worry that our great nation is coming to the end of its days. That we’re living in an era with too many similarities to the end of the Weimar Republic. I worry that there’s no compassion left in the leadership in our nation’s capital. I worry that some day they may come for me.

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